Apocalyptica, Leprous, Wheel 09.25.22
Rave / Eagles Club (The Rave)
This was Wheel’s first time playing in Milwaukee, but a fair number of people in the crowd were already familiar with the band. They played a five song opening set, which ended on their self-titled “Wheel” and still making time to banter with the crowd a bit between songs.
As always, Leprous hit the stage with a ton of energy that carried through their entire set. For the fall tour with Apocalyptica they are running a pared down version of the same setlist they played on their spring headlining tour, keeping it just to the hits from the latest three albums. That said, their fantastic stage presence makes the show worth seeing more than once. In order to keep to their time limits, Einar stated that he preferred to play more music rather than pass a lot of time talking, so for the most parts the songs flowed directly into each other.
One of the things that makes Leprous so fun to watch is seeing each of the members trade around between keyboards, vocals, and strings as well as step up on their stage boxes for clear views even from the back of the venue. I am glad I got to catch them in Atlanta on their spring tour, because Milwaukee prog crowds tend to be much more stationary than other cities I’ve been in. As usual, there was minimal dancing or headbanging and no pit, but the lower energy of the crowd did nothing to stop the band from putting on a high caliber show.
“Absolutely raging” is probably not the first description that comes to mind for most people when you tell them you went to see a cello trio (or quartet when they were joined by Raphael from Leprous for a brief feature), but it is a perfect description of Apocalyptica. They were flying around the stage and putting the most flair into bowed instruments that I’ve ever seen. Despite the voracious enthusiasm of the band, the crowd only marginally picked up in response, with most songs ending to a polite round of applause that you might expect at a more typical orchestra performance.
Towards the end, things picked up a bit more with Apocalyptica playing some more well known songs and the audience joining in to sing “Nothing Else Matters” and “Seek & Destroy.” The love the members had for each other and the fans was clear through the whole set, with Eicca checking in with the crowd several times and ending on the note “Take care of yourselves, take care of each other, love each other, love yourselves” and all of the various performers from the evening sharing group hugs before the final bow.